Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) [India], September 27 (ANI): The Arunachal Pradesh government has signed an MoU with the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) to explore the feasibility of harnessing geothermal potentials that the hilly state's numerous hot springs have to offer.
The memorandum of understanding was signed on Wednesday in the state capital Itanagar by Repo Ronya, Secretary, Science and Technology, Arunachal Pradesh, and Rajinder Bhasin, Technical Expert, NGI, Norway, in the presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
Chief Minister Khandu said that it's the right step towards green and clean energy production, especially in light of global warming concerns.
"It's a great coincidence that this MoU is being signed on World Tourism Day as its theme this year is 'Tourism and Green Investment' that perfectly goes in tandem with this new initiative," Khandu said.
He expressed optimism that the study will lead to the development of renewable geothermal sources in Arunachal Pradesh and increase energy supply to meet present and future demands.
"Many of the hot springs are located in mountain areas where generators run on fossil fuel for electricity and heating. These can be replaced by geothermal energy with no carbon dioxide emissions," he said.
Admitting that this is a completely new technology for the state, Chief Minister Khandu expressed hope that NGI, with its expertise in the field and experience in successfully implementing one project in Ladakh, will give a new direction to energy production that will be beneficial not only to the local populace residing in the high mountains but also to the army personnel posted there.
Khandu also expressed hope that Arunachal's relationship with NGI will go beyond harnessing geothermal resources, especially in the fields of road construction and tunnelling.
"Arunachal Pradesh is geographically and geologically completely different from the rest of the country. Therefore, a tailor-made technology is needed for the construction of roads and tunnels here. As Norway, with similar geological features, has one of the world's best road infrastructure andworld-class tunnels, we can benefit from its technology," he expressed.
Rajinder Bhasin, Technical Expert, NGI, agreed with the Chief Minister and informed that Norway, despite being a small country, has about 7000 km of tunnels that shorten road distances eventually enhancing government revenue.
Bhasin, who visited a few places in West Kameng, said the state has tremendous potential for the development of infrastructure to make it one of the best tourism states in the country.
"I have worked for about a decade in Bhutan and I thought Bhutan was the ultimate. But visiting Arunachal Pradesh for the first time, I realized that I was wrong all the time. This is heaven," he said.
Representing the Norwegian Embassy, Senior Advisor Vivek Kumar said that the Embassy is ready to facilitate cooperation between Norwegian agencies and experts with the state government in sectors that matter.
The intention of this MoU is to provide a facilitating mechanism for the two parties to work together on mutually agreed, progressive and supportive activities; aiming for further development in the field of Geotechnics and Rock Engineering by dealing with complex sub-surface geological and geotechnical issues faced by the state.
To begin with, NGI will carry out geological, geochemical and geothermal investigation of few selected geothermal sites in Tawang and West Kameng districts that will include MT Survey to decipher the deeper geoelectrical configuration of geothermal springs (hot-springs) and feasibility to utilize the Geothermal Energy resources for further use. (ANI)